Jays drop 2 OT heart-breakerThe Blue Jay boys hockey team helped rewrite the record books yet again during a wild semifinal night of the West Region tournament inside Minot’s All Seasons Arena on Friday.
By: By Michael Savaloja, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
The Blue Jay boys hockey team helped rewrite the record books yet again during a wild semifinal night of the West Region tournament inside Minot’s All Seasons Arena on Friday.
One night removed from setting a tournament-game record for combined goals scored in a 9-7 Jamestown victory over Bottineau/Rugby, Jamestown senior goalie Tygh Yatskis played the game of his life between the pipes against the No. 1-seeded Bismarck Century Patriots.
Yatskis collected a West Region tournament-game record 63 saves, but Jamestown was unable to hold on to a 3-0 advantage after two periods, falling to the Patriots 4-3 in double overtime.
“I’ve been coaching the kid for four years, and that’s the best game I’ve ever seen (Yatskis) play,” JHS coach Matt Stockert said. “We’ve been waiting for a game like that out of Tygh all year long … it’s too bad we ended up on the losing end.”
Jamestown may have lost the game, but the effort put forth by the No. 5-seeded Blue Jays against one of the state’s best teams this season is a feather in the cap. The Jays’ state tournament hopes are still well alive, as they’ll be facing the No. 6-seeded Mandan Braves (9-14) in a state-qualifying game today at 11 a.m.
Jamestown (12-11) defeated the Braves in both regular-season matchups by the final scores of 4-3 and 7-4.
“I’m 100-percent proud of the kids tonight in the effort they gave. We just came up on the short end of the stick,” Stockert said. “I don’t think we can look back and say we’d have done anything different. The effort was there for 51 minutes, plus a couple of overtimes.”
Yatskis also set a tournament-game record for overtime saves with 15. A third record also tumbled on Friday night, as it was the longest West Region tournament game on record. After the first 8-minute overtime, the Jays and the Patriots played 5 minutes, 31 seconds into a second 17-minute overtime period.
In Thursday’s quarterfinal win over Bottineau/Rugby, Jamestown senior forward Alex Williams also tied a tournament-game record with 5 goals scored.
Jamestown controlled the scoreboard early on Friday, surviving a 5-on-3 Patriots advantage in the first period — while also killing the majority of a 5-minute major — to lead 1-0 after one behind senior forward Jake Stilwell’s 30th goal of the season.
Jamestown was outshot 15-2 by the Patriots in the first period. The Blue Jays didn’t get their 15th shot on goal until 5 minutes remained in the first 8-minute overtime period.
In period No. 2, Jamestown stood tall against another man-advantage by the Patriots, while tacking on 2 more goals to lead 3-0 at the end of three. Austin Rene found the back of the net for his 8th tally of the year, while Williams scored his 19th of the season and 6th of the tourney.
All the while, the Patriots were rifling attempts at Yatskis. Jamestown was being outshot by Century 29-6 after two periods, and was eventually outshot 67-24 in the game.
“I know those shots were a lot to a little, but the opportunities we got we made sure we took care of them,” Stockert said. “But tip your cap to (Century). There’s a reason why they’re the No. 1 team in the region.”
What eventually would make the difference for Century were three unanswered goals that came 6 minutes, 30 seconds apart in the third period, knotting the score at 3-3 with just over 5 minutes left in regulation. Alec Rauhauser scored a goal for the Patriots, which was bookended by a pair of goals from Keaton Leininger.
Byrne Curl eventually scored the game-winner for the Patriots in the second overtime, but there were a lot more positives than negatives for Jamestown.
“Overall we did a real good job in the defensive zone of not letting (Century) inside the box. The majority of their shots came from the outside,” Stockert said. “Tygh came up big when they did get inside, and that’s what you need to have happen in big games.”
The defense being played by the Jays in front of Yatskis was something coach Stockert would have probably liked to have sealed in a bottle.
“I thought we had some real good help defensively from our forwards and our defensemen,” Stockert said. “We took care of the puck in our own end and didn’t give them many opportunities.”
Jamestown won’t have much time to rest before the puck drops this morning at 11 against Mandan. Jamestown will be playing without junior forward Brady Hoggarth, who picked up a 5-minute major and game misconduct for checking from behind in the first period of Friday’s game.
Jamestown junior forward Jack Jenson also went down with an apparent injury to his right knee late in the third quarter on Friday. His status for today’s game is unknown.
“We need to play a similar game like we did today. Take care of the puck, and keep an eye on (Mandan’s Brady Zittleman and Tre Kautzman),” Stockert said. “If we can do that, I think we can come away winners.”
West Region Boys Hockey Tournament
At Minot All Seasons Arena
Bismarck Century 4, Jamestown 3, 2OT
Jamestown 1 2 0 0 0 — 3
Bismarck Century 0 0 3 0 1 — 4
1, J, Jake Stilwell (unassisted), 7:31.
2, J, Austin Rene (unassisted), 7:41; 3, J, Alex Williams (Stilwell, Brandon Stalhut), 11:39.
4, BC, Keaton Leininger (Alec Rauhauser, Christopher Brown), 5:20; 5, BC, Alec Rauhauser (Cyril Nagurski), 8:30; 6, BC, Keaton Leininger (Rauhauser), 11:40.
7, BC, Byrne Curl (unassstied), 5:31.
Goalie saves: J, Tygh Yatskis 15-14-19-15—63; BC, Jack Abfalter 2-4-9-6—21.
Penalties: J, 2 minors for 4 minutes, 1 major for 5 minutes; BC, none.
Records: Bismarck Century 17-6; Jamestown 12-11.
Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at (701) 952-8461 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org